Sitting in a hotel lobby in Wichita Falls, a friend told me about a cattle rancher and liquor store owner that was doing interesting things online. Less than a week later, Pam Slim tweeted about Becky McCray, and I instantly recognized her name. Then I fell down a stereotype-shattering rabbit hole. Many of us are convinced that we just need to live somewhere different to be successful. Becky McCray argues that small towns have a future and proves that with her own life. If she can thrive in a community of 30 people, we can find a way too.
Along with the essential habits for getting things done, you'll need a dedicated cockpit to keep you focused and organized. There are hundreds of options (in addition to ol' fashioned pen and paper), and I've narrowed it down to a few of my favorites. To make the cut, the tools have to be accessible across platforms and via mobile and desktop devices, have sharing capabilities for teams, and be intuitively simple. Here's an overview of the top four task/project management tools, along with their strengths and weaknesses for easy comparison. (Plus, I'll even share my personal favorite.)
Businesses have habits. And just like people, the effects are incredibly powerful. They can provide scaffolding to reach their goals nearly effortlessly - or work feverishly against them. They can be bloated, inefficient, and cranky, clinging to the life support of days gone by and resisting any semblance of change. Or they can be lean, efficient deliverers of fabulous service and value, seeking to improve a little bit each day and purposefully scanning the horizons for new opportunities. Sound familiar? If your business (or department or job) sounds like the former, it's likely entangled in massive knots of bad habits. That's okay. We can untangle them, and we already know where to start.
Since 2007, Dan Andrews and Ian Schoen have partnered to build a 7-figure ecommerce business that produces quality niche products. Along with all the hard-earned knowledge that comes from a good 'ol fashioned product business, the pair have also become thought leaders in the online marketing space with their top-rated Lifestyle Business Podcast and private membership group. Personally, I admire the two for how well they balance several successful business projects - and find time every week to give back to entrepreneurs around the world. So when Dan tweeted to ask for show ideas, I quickly replied that I'd love to know the business habits they feel are most critical to their success. I was thrilled to wake up and discover that exact podcast, and I knew I had to share it with you. I also caught up with Dan the next day to round out the profile with a few more questions.
I spent half of August doing what I once thought was impossible. A year ago, I decided to purposely seek extended travel periods and make choices that were in support of that. Every month, I visit my family in north Texas and travel frequently as President of Texas Business Women. Quarterly, I take a week and visit family farther away or attend conferences. I went to the other side of the world for 21 days, kept my job, and didn’t use a bit of vacation time. Looking back, I realize I could have been doing this for the last decade. I just didn’t have the courage to make those choices.
After last week's post about deciding what to learn, I received several emails asking what skills I thought were most important. Certainly, skills like project management, public speaking, and self awareness are essential to building a career or a business. I doubt you're surprised by any of those. So, here's a list that might surprise you. Here are five skills you probably don't even know you need. If you don't have them, they're likely holding back your career (or your business), organizations you volunteer with, and even your parenting.
There are known knowns; there are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know. -Donald Rumsfeld Forget any political connotations to the statement above and think through the concept it conveys. It's absolutely true. To thrive in modern society, we must persistently remind ourselves that the third region exists. And we must work to shrink it, both by knowing more and by knowing what we don't know. We must learn how to learn, and we must learn to decide what to learn.
I discovered Brett Kelly in the summer of 2010 through a mutual love of Evernote. I'd played with the service and realized I was only scratching the surface of its potential. A quick Google search turned up his recently released ebook, Evernote Essentials. I bought it immediately and felt my memory and organizational capacity expand overnight. At the time, I was part of business project making an early attempt at online learning. Knowing what a difference Evernote and his guide had made in my life, I cold-emailed Brett to ask if we could use his guide as the foundation for a new course for our students. He agreed immediately and even shared our course with his network - which was significantly larger than ours. Over the years, we kept in touch through Twitter and met in person at the first World Domination Summit in July 2011. There, I learned that we also shared a common faith and affinity for tattoos. But it wasn't until I read Chris Guillebeau's $100 Startup that I knew the full story. After several stressful years of working opposite schedules with his wife to make ends meet, Brett had the idea for his ebook and worked for months to make it "exactly right." Right before the guide went on sale, Brett and Joana made a pact. If it sold at least $10,000 worth of copies, she could quit her job and be able to stay home with their kids full-time. Eleven days later . . .
As the World Domination Summit came to a close, host Chris Guillebeau unveiled his latest investment. This conference had been a financial success, and by combining the profits and the contribution of an anonymous benefactor, he’d gathered $100,000 – and he was giving it to us. We each received a small envelope with a crisp $100 bill and simple set of instructions: Start a project, surprise someone, or do something entirely different. I knew immediately how I would invest mine.